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National Rural Health Day

hea-national-rural-health-dayThe National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) and other state/national rural stakeholders will celebrate National Rural Health Day on Thursday, November 17, 2016.

NOSORH created National Rural Health Day as a way to showcase rural America; increase awareness of rural health-related issues; and promote the efforts of NOSORH, State Offices of Rural Health and others in addressing those issues. Plans call for National Rural Health Day to become an annual celebration on the third Thursday of each November.

Approximately 62 million people—nearly one in five Americans—live in rural and frontier communities throughout the United States. “These small towns, farming communities and frontier areas are wonderful places to live and work; they are places where neighbors know each other and work together,” said NOSORH Director Teryl Eisinger. “The hospitals and providers serving these rural communities not only provide quality patient care, but they also help keep good jobs in rural America.”

These communities also face unique healthcare needs. “Today more than ever, rural communities must tackle accessibility issues, a lack of healthcare providers, the needs of an aging population suffering from a greater number of chronic conditions, and larger percentages of un- and underinsured citizens,” Eisinger said. “Meanwhile, rural hospitals are threatened with declining reimbursement rates and disproportionate funding levels that makes it challenging to serve their residents.”

State Offices of Rural Health play a key role in addressing those needs. All 50 states maintain a State Office of Rural Health, each of which shares a similar mission: to foster relationships, disseminate information and provide technical assistance that improves access to, and the quality of, health care for its rural citizens. In the past year alone, State Offices of Rural Health collectively provided technical assistance to more than 28,000 rural communities.

For example, White Pine Family Medicine in Cedar Springs is among the most devoted Rural Health Clinics around. Being driven by that compassion and understanding the need for this specialized type of health care, they became a Rural Health Clinic in April of 2004, continuing the long-standing tradition of rural health medicine from the original clinic established in 1976. Being owned and operated by two Physician Assistants makes White Pine Family Medicine an even more unique situation. They have grown to having a total of five physician assistants and their medical director, who is a D.O., along with a fully staffed office. But their devotion goes beyond health care. They have conducted food drives, collect toys for tots, and each Christmas they select a family from their practice to adopt, provide gifts and a holiday meal for. They sponsor sports physical clinics, contribute to the local museums, and participate with local businesses. If you are looking for quality, efficient, personal patient care right in your own backyard, give your local Rural Health Clinics a try.

Additional information about National Rural Health Day can be found at nosorh.org/nrhd.

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